It is the small things in life that make us the happiest. We seem to know this as children but gradually with time we forget and lose interest in wondrous things like a new penny, early morning pancakes, and rainbows in the rain. Tania Luna, a Chernobyl survivor, young immigrant, and someone who grew up with nearly nothing, reminds us of the little joys in life. Enjoy and spread the gratitude.
“I’m five years old, and I am very proud. My father has just built the best outhouse in our little village in Ukraine. Inside, it’s a smelly, gaping hole in the ground, but outside, it’s pearly white formica and it literally gleams in the sun. This makes me feel so proud, so important, that I appoint myself the leader of my little group of friends and I devise missions for us. So we prowl from house to house looking for flies captured in spider websand we set them free.“
“So the first day we get to New York, my grandmother and I find a penny in the floor of the homeless shelter that my family’s staying in. Only, we don’t know that it’s a homeless shelter. We think that it’s a hotel, a hotel with lots of rats.“
“And again, I get that feeling when we get a knock on the door of our apartment in Brooklyn,and my sister and I find a deliveryman with a box of pizza that we didn’t order. So we take the pizza, our very first pizza, and we devour slice after slice as the deliveryman stands there and stares at us from the doorway. And he tells us to pay, but we don’t speak English. My mother comes out, and he asks her for money, but she doesn’t have enough.She walks 50 blocks to and from work every day just to avoid spending money on bus fare.Then our neighbor pops her head in, and she turns red with rage when she realizes that those immigrants from downstairs have somehow gotten their hands on her pizza.Everyone’s upset. But the pizza is delicious.“
“It doesn’t hit me until years later just how little we had. On our 10 year anniversary of being in the U.S., we decided to celebrate by reserving a room at the hotel that we first stayed in when we got to the U.S. The man at the front desk laughs, and he says, “You can’t reserve a room here. This is a homeless shelter.” And we were shocked.“
“I’m going to tell you about one more formerly homeless member of our family. This is Scarlett. Once upon a time, Scarlet was used as bait in dog fights. She was tied up and thrown into the ring for other dogs to attack so they’d get more aggressive before the fight.And now, these days, she eats organic food and she sleeps on an orthopedic bed with her name on it, but when we pour water for her in her bowl, she still looks up and she wags her tail in gratitude.“
“Sometimes Brian and I walk through the park with Scarlett, and she rolls through the grass,and we just look at her and then we look at each other and we feel gratitude. We forget about all of our new middle-class frustrations and disappointments, and we feel like millionaires.“